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The doctor will see you now

By Tom Toles

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Show and tell

Against all advice about how to play the blogging game by linking to other bloggers and hoping they link back, that just doesn't seem like much fun. So, few links to be found here. If I were required to fill a twelve-foot-deep column of screen space every day like some bloggers, the practice of linking would probably start looking a whole lot more sensible.

That being said, sometimes there appears something that just everybody needs to read, even if a competitor published it. I'm sure there is a damning case to be made about the history of some portion of liberalism, and no doubt some have been written. Feel free to link to them! But if ever there was a definitive eulogy and cremation of the complete and total SWINDLE of recent Republican fiscal "conservatism," here it is, and from the fingers of RONALD REAGAN'S budget director.

What's absolutely astonishing is that Republicans give no sign of having learned ONE SINGLE THING. And now they are asking to be returned to power for another helping. --Tom Toles

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By Tom Toles  | August 4, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  Health care  
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Comments

There are too many negative and cruel comments in blogs (it may end eventually), I can see the writer of the story must hate that feature. No wonder that government is afraid to do anything, risk of being crucified--but the rest of us blog so that isn't all that is said (if read at all).

Posted by: bwcolq | August 8, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

...interesting perspectives here:

X sucks but Y doesn't...

X sucks but Y isn't any better...

..the policies of X would have worked fine were it not for Y...

I don't see too many of "it doesn't matter whether x or y is in power, we'll be lucky to continue to do as well as we are doing right now".

Question: if you put 100 random-sampled Americans in a room and ask them 100 questions. Let them all discuss the question openly and in private but go on-record for their answers. Would you bet on the right answer being the most-popular reply, every time?

Has this ever been tested?

Posted by: dubya1938 | August 5, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately Stockmans' argument suffers from several flaws but the main one is that it is insufficiently concise.

He needs to cut it down to two or three sentences that make his point beyond refute. If he can't do that then there's little point in even talking.

Here's a much-better version: For years the Republicans engaged in serial deregulation and spent far more than they brought in in taxes, and we've seen the results, and now all they have to offer is the promise of "better" regulation, spending and taxation than the Democrats.

Posted by: dubya1938 | August 5, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

As America spirals down to third-world debt status, we have one party claiming that the government can reduce its debt by cutting its income, and the other party wanting to tame it by spending more money. Both of these have a magical thinking quality. Has anyone thought of doing the opposite, raising taxes to increase income and spending less money? Of course the first is heresy to the Republicans and the second is unacceptable to all the dependent old people. No wonder we're failing as a nation.

Posted by: DaveHarris | August 5, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Tom, your bias toward the big-spenders is apparent. When the GOP is back to truly conservatism, the Democrats will be trounced.
Stockman is an old-guard, big government gop'er. onhe bad apple does not ruin the lot. If it did, Obama would have skunked the entire Dem. party!
-David Blumenthal

Posted by: dblument | August 4, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

rowens1, while I can certainly see your point, I also see the negative, that being, "forced to purchase" something one may not want.

Posted by: bertzel | August 4, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

There are many cost controls built in to the HC bill. The most important one of all is the percent insurance companies must pay out in claims.

Additional containment will be in formularies, and assigned care replacing these ER visits that have been so devastating to public budgets.

I suggest you inform yourself and stop the repetitious GOP bitter grapes talking point.

Posted by: rowens1 | August 4, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

The HC Bill does nothing to address the cost of health care. Our elected officials have done us all a great disservice regardless of the outcome of any lawsuits.

Posted by: primegrop | August 4, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

TT says, "What's absolutely astonishing is that Republicans give no sign of having learned ONE SINGLE THING. And now they are asking to be returned to power for another helping."

"Learning" has nothing to do with our economic situation.

You seem to imagine that the politicians and their financiers WANT to raise the standard of living for the middle and lower classes. You seem to imagine that they innocently bungle in their earnest, well-meaning attempts to keep the ship of state on an even keel. You seem to imagine that their incompetence by SHEER COINCIDENCE happens always to further enrich the wealthy and impoverish the poor.

Guess again.

Posted by: HumanistPatriot | August 4, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

The Stockman article is indeed very telling, and rational. The wonders of easy money feels so good it just HAS to be real. Debt was always a feared animal in our house. My folks were traumatized by the depression and even though we were running a bakery and grocery store, borrowing for expansion was done at great trepidation.

In other words, here's one "lib", raised Republican, who still has a streak of fiscal conservatism. Borrowed money feels good when you get it, because it arrives so easily. But then you try to pay it back, with the time value of money working against you, and with inflation and more earnings it stills hurts like heck to pay it back.

I don't know how you'll ever get through to some readers here, Tom, they discount clear thinking by discrediting the source. They don't respond to logic, history, or even the "common sense" that there is NO FREE LUNCH.

Thanks Tom for continuing to try to educate and elucidate this political "theater". But I'm afraid they just are just not receptive to any analysis that contradicts their pre-conceived notions of public finance.

If GDP is measurable, we should also be able to measure optimal tax rates as a percent of GDP for ideal growth. That would be a better conversation, one that an enlightened citizenry could embrace.

The honest politician is a fiscally conservative LIBERAL in 2010. We are lonely.

Posted by: rowens1 | August 4, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Dear Old Tom...

Your rant accompanying today's cartoon simply brings to mind the old saying --- "There are none so blind as those who *will not* see."

Cordially, Jack Buttram -- Taylors, SC

Posted by: JackButtram1 | August 4, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

President Clinton worked with a Republican Congress which made him see the light as far as Welfare was concerned. The Republicans have a chance to change their ways. The Democrats are stuck in their old ways. The opportunity to do better rests with the Republicans.

Posted by: bobbo2 | August 4, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Great cartoon! The punishment is more than appropriate for the crime.

Posted by: jpost1 | August 4, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Oh Tom, with your wisdom and wit, to fall for the nonsense that the Dems are any better then the Repubs.... Yes, the GOP does "spend and spend" while the Dems are more "tax and spend," but nothing about current legislation (healthcare especially) and the resulting spending is even remotely fiscally sound. The projections for huge deficits INCLUDE allowing tax cuts to expire and pushing more middle class people into paying the AMT, not to mention the usual fiscal fantasies that allow us to "project" a balanced budget 10 years from now!

Posted by: brutus_was_right | August 4, 2010 7:55 AM | Report abuse

bobbo2 wrote, "They [the GOP] spent and spent just like Democrats. I doubt that they will make the same mistake again or they are through"


Let's see if the public learns from it's mistakes:


The public bought the GOP "spend & spend" kool-aid from Reagan and the deficit went through the roof.

Then the public bought the GOP "spend & spend" kool-aid from Bush 1 and the deficit kept climbing higher.

Then Democrat Clinton left a budget SURPLUS.

Then the public bought the GOP "spend & spend" kool-aid from Bush II and the deficit sky-rocketed.


Right. The public will never make THAT mistake again.

Posted by: egc52556 | August 4, 2010 7:32 AM | Report abuse

If taking more money from the rich will fix things. Then why not take alot more from them? Why not take let's say 2/3 of their income? That should fix everything. Or maybe take 3/4 of the income of everybody? We should then be a perfect society. Right?

Posted by: bobbo2 | August 4, 2010 7:21 AM | Report abuse

actually, it is highly debatable how much Reagan's tax cuts had to do with the expansion. At the time, Volcker was squeezing inflation out of the system, and conventional economic theory predicts that this would have had a lot of impact. Bush's tax cuts did not kick off the second largest economic expansion in US history.

Posted by: 3point14159 | August 4, 2010 6:33 AM | Report abuse

For all their mouth the Repubs have nothing. Name one good thing the Repubs have done for this country in the last thirty years. They are like little children wanting to blame their failures on someone else. And Conservs, tell us how Stockman is wrong ? Reagan even had to raise taxes when he realized he had created an enormous deficit with his erronoeous economic beliefs.

Posted by: Falmouth1 | August 4, 2010 5:19 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Toles, do you mean the David Stockman who left Collins and Aikman auto parts days before it went under and ended up in bankruptcy court? You mean that David Stockman? The Republicans got trounced last election because they acted like Democrats. They spent and spent just like Democrats. I doubt that they will make the same mistake again or they are through. Meanwhile what have the Democrats learned? That during a severe downturn the Government should spend billions and billions of dollars on new spending programs? That PayGo is a law that doesn't exist? Or that during the Health Care bill push they said it wasn't a tax, and now that there is a challenge all of a sudden it IS a tax? Vilify the Republicans all you want Mr. Toles. The Democrats are the same that they were in the Sixties, tax and spend. The Republicans know they can't screw up again. I am trying to think what more the Democrats can do to screw up the upcoming election. Rangel and Waters and unemployment and a nuclear Iran and a lousy response to the oil disaster and trillion dollar deficits and illegal immigration and lousy relations with our allies and no progress in Afghanistan and no chance of a new government in Iraq and business apprehension and ...............

Posted by: bobbo2 | August 3, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link, Tom. It should be prescribed reading for all free-spending Congressmen (and women).

It amazes me that your more right-wing commenters on this blog seem intent on blaming this long-term fiscal mess on the Democratic Party when, as Stockman suggests, the blame is at least shared between the two major parties and is probably laid most firmly at the door of the GOP.

Continued failure to address this long-term imbalance leads to one question: Can you say "banana republic"?

Posted by: Iceman3 | August 3, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Ronald Reagan tripled the deficit. Clinton's tax policies, which the right complained about and is now refusing to go back to, were responsible for the largest economic expansion in US history. The sky is blue and water is wet.

Posted by: Kevin71707 | August 3, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Question: how does a conservative get praise from Tommy ol’ boy?
Answer: Trash other conservatives!

So because one elitist old guard GOP doesn’t like the crop of new conservative stars, this is some how n indictment of the entire modern conservative movement.

I don’t know if you were aware Tommy ol boy but ever since Nancy and Harry took control of congress the nations economy and the governments finances have been going down the tubes! And with the election of your Nigerian prince, the mau mauing of this country has gone into overdrive.

I have a brother in law who is a BIG TIME Obama loving lib, and I am going to laugh in his face come novemeber.

Posted by: SharpshootingPugilist | August 3, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Come on Tom, Stockman has always been bad mouthing President Reagan's tax cuts which led to the largest economic expansion in US history. Just check out the December 1981 Atlantic Monthly story on Stockman where he says the same thing as the story you want everyone to read today. Stockman is just trying to sell books to liberals and evidently he got you very interested.

Posted by: carbonhog | August 3, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

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